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Title Changed: Current news about Liberia.

 
 
Sofia
 
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2003 04:06 pm
What's going on in Liberia? The President there is begging the US to send troops Shocked

I haven't heard anything about this in the media until today.

Is anyone following the story? I'd greatly appreciate insights into this civil war, and if Bush is correct, in your estimation, to avoid direct involvement.

The Liberia story.

Changed title in deference to members affected by Liberian civil war.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 12,406 • Replies: 93
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cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2003 04:38 pm
Here are a few links that might bring you up to date. Liberia has been a mess for a while now, and it does seem that the US owes them:

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/libhtml/liberia.html
http://www.sacobserver.com/soul/101002/liberia_pbs_story.htm
http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/34/index-gb.html
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Sofia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2003 04:44 pm
Thanks, cavalier.

Very informative links.
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cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2003 04:52 pm
Dunno, really. The history is so convoluted...seems like Liberia is trying to call in a favour. At the moment, I am neutral.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2003 06:34 pm
Ain'ta gonna happen . . .

No strategic resources . . .
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cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2003 06:40 pm
Good point, although they did have some cool stamps when I was collecting as a kid.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2003 08:08 pm
I think the ongoing complete and violent anarchy in Liberia has been so bad for so long that any troops would be welcome, even when we should realise that the process would be fraught with risks.

I am also a bit troubled, however, about the point in your post where military intervention (unilateral at that) seems to be the first thing you think of - like: 'I didnt know about this situation, I just read its really bad, should we send our troops in?' Thats way too "short through the curve", as we say here, to my taste.

Again: Liberia might well benefit from a military intervention, from whomever (well, not quite whomever, but you get my drift). And also, I feel that if any of the posters here who concluded that the war in Iraq was justified regardless of any WMD issue, because of how the people there had suffered so much - as in: "who can read these stories of Hussein's victims and still maintain the war wasnt justified?!" - were in any way serious about their conclusion, they have a responsibility to look at how that logic would/should apply elsewhere in the world as well. In that sense I applaud your post.

But in terms of devils versus deep blue seas, the degree to which unilateral military intervention 'to save them' has become almost a standard instinct reaction among some Republicans, is also a potential source of great danger and instability in the world. I never know whether to applaud - yae, you discovered the evil of totalitarianism, you even want to do something about it, finally, cool! - or to get really impatient, as in: now hold on for a moment, before you go grab your gun? So in that respect I wanna place a general critical 'sidenote': what's the questions we should ask first?

Like: what other strategies, solutions could be used? Who else (neighbouring countries, other powers, international organisations) could be involved in the solution? Who all actually plays / has played a role in this conflict, and can thus be worked on, pressured, etc? Where have the warlords that have dominated the liberian conflict been getting their weapons (and resources) from, and how can they be cut off?

And - not unimportantly, and the one question always missed out on - how did it ever get this far? What fuels these conflicts, perpetuates them, and: whats been our own policies in the past and what did they do to help or exacerbate things? The latter question is not meant to somehow be able to place the 'original' blame of the war(s) on some foreign power or other (France, the US) - b/c Africans are wholly capable of making their own wars, too. It's meant to find what lessons we can draw about what the past of the conflicts suggest in ways of solutions now, and about how (not) to behave ourselves in the future (anymore), so as to avoid contributing to history keeping on repeating itself. If you don't ask these above questions, you're bound to keep on rushing around the world putting out (or igniting, as it may be) ever new fires, without ever 'getting it'.

Any attention whatsoever for the West-African conflicts, public or governmental, is welcome. Your way of phrasing the question - 'should we send in our troops there, too' - is cool because it attracts attention to a topic that would otherwise probably be ignored - and because it does the logical follow-up on the Iraq debate. And perhaps a US military intervention would actually well be able to achieve something, just as long as a clear plan and a clear idea about what you're going in for would be in place. But as a matter of principle, if somewhere across the world a hefty conflict comes to your attention, "us sending in the troops" should not, in my view, be the first question - it should be the last resort!

Sorry for being so verbose without actually getting into the topic in any way concretely - just overall observations ...
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Sofia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2003 08:19 pm
Before finishing nimh's post, wanted all to know I didn't jump to troop involvement...The Head Honcho in Liberia has asked Bush to send troops.
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Sofia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2003 08:26 pm
Cav's reading material cited Liberia as an American colony. I didna know this! It appears as though we owe them some type of support.

While, personally, I don't want us sending troops anywhere else--given our history with Liberia--what I wanted to know is...

If they call on us for help, DO we owe it?
Are they REALLY effectively an American colony? Do we have any others? How many of you knew this? (No cheating.)
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2003 08:37 pm
Sofia, here's what I THINK I know about Liberia, no cheating. I'll check my facts when I'm done (have only skimmed this thread, too):

I know that there is a relationship between American freed slaves and Liberia (hence the name), but I'm not entirely sure what. I have a vague impression that it was rather Uncle Tom-ish, in that black people were supposedly behind it, but it was really something encouraged by whites who wanted the black people gone.

I also know that there is terrible, terrible strife there. Ongoing, for many years.

Hmm. That's all that immediately comes to mind. Will now read the rest of the thread and go googling...
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2003 08:41 pm
Sofia wrote:
Before finishing nimh's post, wanted all to know I didn't jump to troop involvement...The Head Honcho in Liberia has asked Bush to send troops.


Charles Taylor asked? Hadnt picked up on the link in your first post, sorry. In the morning paper today there was nothing yet about Taylor asking for an intervention, only about Bush calling on him to step down.

Taylor is a gangster, with as bloody two hands as anyone in the country, and is not owed anything by anyone, period. If the US would intervene, it should not be to prop up his power. He belongs in the dock of some war crimes tribunal.

I dont buy into the line that solutions will have to involve the old leaders to avoid them from stirring up trouble. If you're going to intervene, do it in such a way that you wont have to make that kind of concessions - that you can replace Taylor's like and get a new class of leaders for the country. The more you try to "embed" the old warlords in new political arrangements, the surer you are they'll use the next opportunity of capitalising on instability to start their old game up again. My two c. <shrugs>
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2003 08:41 pm
James Monroe established Liberia as a place for guilt-ridden slave owners to send slaves they'd manumitted for the purpose. For a long time, those of the immigrants who retained social standing through control of the government, aped the manners and dress of their former masters. Until well into the last century, Monrovia had carriages in the streets with women in gowns, hoop skirts and crinolins, and men in black tie and top hats.

A good friend of mine, Chester Siafa, was born in Liberia. He was from "the other Liberia," the tribal Liberia. As the last century advanced, the tribal Liberians became more an more resentful of their exclusion from government, and more educated and aware as European missionary societies sent people to deliver aid and run clinics and schools. Chester was taught English by an Irish missionary order, and, although i certainly never laughed at him, it was hilarious to me to see this very relaxed, dark skinned African, of fluid manner and cheerful disposition, speaking with a very thick brogue.

Chester, like so many others whom i have met, fled Liberia to avoid being drafted into Charles Taylor's army. Despite rather bizarre origins, Liberia suffers from what nearly every other war torn African nation suffers--their borders where drawn on a map by Europeans without any regard for or any clue about the tribal rivalries and boundaries. Now they've reached the end of a nearly thirty year civil war, little different than the Hutu and the Tutsi war, or the Nigerians slaughtering the Biafrans in 1968.

There is a fascinating book which i read after Christmas about a black boy who grew up in Hamburg. His father was from the Liberian mission, and his mother was a german woman. His father left, but was unable to get his wife and son out. So he grew up a little black german boy, bombed by Arthur Harris and Sons, dreaming of one day becoming a Hitler youth, which of course was impossible. I'll see if can get the citation for the book.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2003 09:30 pm
I don't know anything here except from the heart. Anybody remember I have mentioned loving my niece?

cutting to the chase, her mom's village was/is Klee. She last called me at 3:30 this very morning, but not for this exact reason.

I know more than most but absolutely nothing.

Let's say I will stay tuned on tis topic.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2003 09:49 pm
Here's the citation for the book of which i wrote earlier--it's a quick and interesting read, with the caveat that it is somewhat self-serving, but most memoirs are, so that's not a heavy criticism . . .

Destined to Witness : Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany

by Hans Massaquoi
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2003 09:51 pm
I know a lot and not enough. Am expurgating posts I tried to post since even I didn't think them right.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2003 10:00 pm
Osso, very interested in getting more of your perspective. Nuances are often vast.
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Sofia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2003 10:57 pm
Fascinating from everyone!
Much appreciation.

Osso, I don't know about your niece. Hope you will enlighten me. Your direct line to Liberia, and the impressions you get from there would be highly interesting to me, and I'm sure others.

Setanta-- I plan to get the book. The subject matter...can't wait to see how it was presented. And, HEY! You painted such a living picture in your post. It was a pleasure to read.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2003 10:59 pm
Sofia, one of those internet bookseller jokers, you know, the big one, had copies for as little as under $7.
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Sofia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2003 11:00 pm
Osso--

Since you have family in Liberia, I wanted you to know the topic header I chose--like alot of mine--was sarcastic and meant as an attention-getter.

I wouldn't blithely suggest war anywhere.
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au1929
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jun, 2003 09:24 am
It would appear that the strife in Liberia is no different from that of anywhere else in Africa. Africa is a sick continent and needs medication from the entire worlds community "UN" not just the US.
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